Jed Best, DDS, MS: Pioneering Paths in Pediatric Dentistry and Dental Technology

Jed Best

In the corridors of academia, Jed Best, DDS, MS (ADL ’72, DEN ’79) has emerged as a luminary whose passion for science and technology has remained steadfast, guiding his path through the ever-evolving landscape of dentistry. Armed with a BA in psychology from CWRU, Dr. Best was pursuing PhD programs in neuroscience when CWRU extended an invitation to its dental school, altering the trajectory of his journey. Yet, even amidst the transition, his dedication to the pursuit of knowledge remained unwavering and he has emerged as an authority in the world of dental technology and materials. Most recently, Dr. Best was interviewed in the March 2024 issue of Inside Dentistry regarding the benefits of glass ionomer over other dental restorative materials.

After earning his Master of Science in Pediatric Dentistry from the University of Minnesota, Dr. Best turned down a faculty position at CWRU to follow his then girlfriend and now wife, Wendy Freedman, Esq. (WRC ’73) to her work in New York City. Since then, Dr. Best has been a part-time faculty member at Columbia University for 45 years and served as the pediatric dentist at Sloan Kettering for 12 years where he specialized in treating bone marrow transplant patients. Dr. Best ran his own pediatric practice for 41 years and has served as a past OCE examiner for the American Board. Presently, Dr. Best is one of the section editors of the Journal of Pediatric Dentistry and holds academic appointments at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry. At the invitation of Dr. Gerald Ferretti, Dr. Best has also been serving his alma mater as a Clinical Professor at Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine since 2011. 

Dr. Best is board certified in Pediatric Dentistry and is a Past President of the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and Past Chairman of the Foundation of the College of Diplomates. His multifaceted contributions to the field have earned him recognition as a Fellow in the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and both the International and American College of Dentists.

Amidst the achievements, Dr. Best remains grounded, attributing his success to the mentors and peers who shaped his journey. He expresses gratitude to former Dean Thomas DeMarco, Dr. John Gerstenmaier, Dr. Larry Fox and of course, current Dean Dr. Kenneth Chance. As a student, Dr. Best said he was always able to talk to the Dean and other department chairs whenever he needed to, and the Dean and the school supported his effort to attempt both a masters in biomedical engineering and a doctor of dental surgery degree at the same time.

Dr. Best’s commitment to giving back to his alma mater echoes the spirit of gratitude and camaraderie that defined his formative years. Dr. Best says of his class, “We had so much fun in dental school. That’s why I come back to teach and support the school. I don’t think students at other schools had as much fun. And I always feel appreciated here.”

In addition to Dr. Best’s expertise in glass ionomers, he has much to share about the use of AI in caries diagnosis, the dangers of blue light, and the potential hazards of air-powered instruments. In the labyrinth of innovation, Dr. Best has become a well regarded and sought after mentor and coach guiding the next generation of dental professionals.